Review: “Velvet Buzzsaw”

Sophia Goodwin, Staff Writer

Is the saying “art imitates life?” true? “Velvet Buzzsaw,” a new dramatic-thriller, was released onto Netflix Feb. 1. The movie stars Jake Gyllenhaal from “Donnie Darko,” Zawe Ashton from “Nocturnal Animals,” and Rene Russo from “Nightcrawler.” 

The film begins with art critic Morf Vandewalt (Gyllenhaal) observing art at the Haze Gallery, owned by Rhodora Haze (Russo) with his friend, Josephina (Ashton). When Josephina abruptly finds a dead body belonging to a man by the name of Vetril Dease in her apartment complex, she wanders into his room, revealing a multitude of his of paintings and artwork. Without hesitation, Josephina steals the paintings, leading them to be displayed in the Haze Gallery. What no one is aware of is that the paintings are very real and haunted, leading to a series of unfortunate circumstances.  

Mid-film, Morf began research on Dease, eager to learn his story. As a child, Dease was roughly abused and suffered from a mental illness, causing him to live a troubled life. As any artist does, he pulled from personal experience, painting about his illness and difficult childhood. It is not until the third death that Vandewalt takes notice that something strange is occurring with the paintings.   

As the story continues to unfold, viewers watch as a paranormal force takes over the lives of those who have managed to let the acquisitiveness of the paintings intervene with the art itself.  

Although the story is refreshing and far from a trite plotline, the acting is subpar at best. The story was not particularly awful, but it was not believableWhat the movie lacks in the area of acting makes up for in aesthetics. It is filled with a vibrant color scheme that keeps the viewers’ eyes attached to the screen.  

Overall, the movie is “Nightcrawlers” meets “Nocturnal Animals” meets “Big Eyes.” The film captures the essence of today’s modern world, focusing highly on one’s own needs over others. “Velvet Buzzsaw” is now available to watch on Netflix.